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The detection of deception with the reality monitoring approach: a review of the empirical evidence

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One of the verbal approaches to the detection of deceit is based on research on human memory that tries to identify the characteristics that differentiate between internal and external memories (reality monitoring). This approach has attempted to extrapolate the contributions of reality monitoring (RM) research to the deception area. In this paper, we have attempted to review all available studies conducted in several countries in order to yield some general conclusions concerning the discriminative power of this approach. Regarding individual criteria, the empirical results are not very encouraging: few criteria discriminate significantly across studies, and there are several variables that moderate their effect. Some of the contradictory findings may have emerged because of differences in the operationalizations and procedures used across individual studies. However, more promising results have been reported in recent studies, and the approach as a whole appears to discriminate above chance level, reaching accuracy rates that are similar to those of criteria-based content analysis (CBCA). Some suggestions for future research are made.

Keywords: (Child) Sexual Abuse; Content Cues; Credibility Assessment; Criteria-based Content Analysis (CBCA); Detection of Deception; Lie Detection; Reality Monitoring (RM); Statement Validity Analysis; Verbal Cues

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: March 1, 2005


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